Samuel Hieron.—This excellent divine was the son of a most worthy minister, who, being much respected by the
school, and enter upon the christian ministry. He laboured in the sacred office many years at Epping in Essex, where God was pleased greatly to bless his endeavours. This his son was educated first by his father, then at King's school,
* Calamy's Account, vol. ii. p. 17.
+ Palmer's Koncoo. Mem. Toi. i. p. 109.
Thus young Jenkin was near Windsor, and afterwards at King's college, Cambridge, where he made amazing progress in the various branches of literature. One of his name united with many others of Trinity college, in their invitation to Lord Burleigh, in 1595, to accept the office of treasurer of the college; but it does not appear with certainty whether this was the same person.*
He entered upon his public ministry, and gained, at the age of twenty-four years, a distinguished reputation, and was greatly admired and followed. Having finished his studies at the uersity, he was presented by Sir Henry Savile to the vicarage of Modbury in Devonshire, where he continued the remainder of his days, the Lord greatly blessing his labours. Here he was reverenced by the poor, admired by the rich, countenanced by the great, and respected by all.t
Mr. Hieron was a celebrated divine, and a most noted puritan. He wrote several excellent pieces in defence of nonconformity, though they were never collected and published with his other works. One of them is entitled, "A short Dialogue proving that the Ceremonies and some other Corruptions now in question, are defended by no other Arguments than such as the Papists have heretofore used, and our Protestant Writers have long since Answered: whereunto are annexed certain Considerations why the . Ministers should not be moved by the Subscription and Ceremonies," 1605. He was also the anonymous author of another piece, entitled, " A Defence of the Ministers' Reasons for refusal of Subscription to the Book of Common Prayer, and of Conformity, in Answer to Mr. T. Hutton, Dr. W. Covel, and Dr. T. Sparke," 1607. This work was printed in Holland, and sent over packed up with the goods of one Mr. T. Sheveril, an eminent merchant of Plymouth; but, as no bookseller durst sell it, on account of the severity of the times, the whole impression was given away. Some of the copies were sent to the persecuting bishops, some to his antagonists, and some to the uersities; but the author was never discovered to his enemies, or to the collectors of his works. Thus Mr. Hieron was deeply engaged in the public controversies of the day, though unknown to his opponents. There was also, "The Second Part of the Defence of the Ministers' Reasons," 1608; and " The Third Part of the Same," 1608; but I am not sure, says my
* Baker's MS. Collec. vol. It. p. 5O.
t Hieron'! Works, Pref. Edit. 1694,
author* whether Mr. Hieron was the author of them.* Me was particularly intimate with some of the most celebrated puritans, especially Or. Lawrence Chadderton, to whom he dedicated some of his works.
. Though Mr. Hieron was a minister of most eminent piefy and usefulness; yet, during the greatest part of his last sickness, which continued about a month, his mind was under a cloud, and very uncomfortable. For the most part, he remained altogether silent, oftentimes not answering any question that was proposed to him, and sometimes he wept most bitterly. A brother minister addressing him, with a view to administer comfort to his troubled mind, he said, " There is a great mist betwixt me and the happiness I have looked alter. I have judged partially of my own state, and thought better of myself than I deserved." He could not then be prevailed upon to speak any more.
About four days before he died, he began to revive and speak in a more comfortable strain, declaring his great peace and abundant consolation. To a friend who asked him how he did, he said, " A very weak man." When it was recommended that, though he was weak in body, he should labour to be strong in the spirit, he replied, " I thank God, I have laboured, and do labour, and I find my labour is not in vain. I have many things to speak that way, but now I want a tongue to utter them ; yet something I must speak: I would not have it thought that my death is hopelejs; for though I have lain all this time silent, as you have seen, yet my thoughts have been engaged about matters of great consequence; and now, I thank my God, my soul is full of comfort. I do verily believe I shall see the light of the Lord, in the land of the living. But what am I, or what is my father's house, that God should deal so graciously with my soul ? He hath called me unto a state of grace; fitted me in my education for the ministry of the word; brought me in his appointed time to the practice thereof; given me some reputation in it; and blessed my labours in some measure unto his people. He hath not dealt thus with every one; no not of his own chosen. I speak not boastingly, but comfortably; not to extol myself but to magnify the goodness of my God. I know whom I have professed, whom 1 have preached, whom I have believed, and now I see heaven open to receive me. I am freed from all care, except for my people. I wish, if God
• MS. Account of Mr. Hieron.
were so pleased, that nothing I have taught them may prove the savour of death unto death to any of them. But my own sin hath been the cause that I have seen no more fruit of my labour in their conversion; yet, it may be, another may come after me, and, as the apostle says of himself, reap that which I have sown. I confess that, in public, I have been somewhat full in reproof, in admonition, in instruction; but in private my backwardness, my bashfulness, my dastardliness, hath been intolerable; and I may truly say, that if any thing lies as a burden on my conscience, it is this. But I praise my God, I know upon whose shoulders to cast it, with the rest of my fransgres• sions." Many other things, in the same comfortable strain, he spoke previous to his departure. He died in the year 1618; for his funeral sermon was published that year, though it does not contain the least account of the deceased. It is entitled, " Hieron's last Farewell; a Sermon preached at Modbury in Devon, at the Funeral of the Reverend and Faithful Servant of Christ, Master Samuel Hieron, sometimes preacher there, by J. B.," 1618.
Fuller, who has classed Mr. Hieron among the eminent men and learned writers of King's college, Cambridge, styles him " a powerful preacher in his printed works."* The learned and pious Bishop Wilkins has given an honourable testimony of the excellency of his sermons.t His works, consisting of sermons and other pieces, were collected and published after his death, entitled, " The Works of Mr. Sam. Hieron, late Pastor of Modbury in Devon," in two volumes, folio, in 1624. A divine of the same name, who was ejected in 1662, was his grandson.f